One of the more curious sights on the NYC subway is the seemingly endless parade of women who, upon getting a seat, proceed to put on their “face” in full view of a subway car full of commuters, completely oblivious to all that’s going on around them.
They dab and dot, brush and eventually begin pointing sharp makeup pencils at their eyes while the subway hurtles along on its merry way. I usually close my eyes when the eye-liner pencils come out and pray we don’t stop short. This is not a rare occurrence. I’ve seen these cosmetic stunt-women — women using their seat on the subway as their own private vanity — dozens, maybe hundreds of times.
Today I sat next to a young woman who, shall we say, really got into her daily routine. From Brooklyn to Manhattan, from Park Slope to Greenwich Village, this 20-something-year-old could not take her eyes off…herself. She put her makeup bag on her lap, took out a mirror and proceeded to pull out one cosmetic after another. Everyone was represented, Sephora to Laura Mercier.
It was a non-stop love fest with her face — foundation, eye shadow, powder, lip liner, gloss — you name it, she had it. Slowly, the subway car was filled with overtones of vanilla and cinnamon; my mouth began watering for a for a Cinnabon or perhaps a Tim Horton’s doughnut.
At one point, a woman across the way began applying her makeup. I wondered, is this like yawning where the activity becomes contagious?
The thing is, she looked pretty good when I sat down. She was in her 20s after all. I became fascinated with her non-stop activity — how long would this go on? I surreptitiously took a photo and decided I was not getting off until she did. How far would we go? I was on the F line and imagined myself at Continental Avenue in Forest Hills by which time, she’d be in full Kabuki makeup.
Luckily, at West 4th — her makeup bag still open — she jumped up and got off. At that point, I was so hungry I took a bite out of the only makeup I had at my disposal — my Cherry Chapstick.